Monday, April 16, 2018

April Showers (Snow Showers That is)

Been on a couple nice hikes between snowstorms. Warm weather a few days and then snow. 
It rained yesterday and now is snowing again. Seen a lot of familiar wildflowers and I post 
them each year as sort of timeline to compare and contrast bloom times. All of these except 
the Fumewort, were from New River- Near Glade Creek

Trout Lilly
Cut-leaf Toothwort
Squirrel Corn 

Purple Trillium

Carolina Spring Beauty

Dutchmen's Breeches 


Large Flowered Bellwort

Yellow Fumewort (Harrison County)

Dwarf Larkspur 



Monday, March 5, 2018

In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move. H. Rollins

And so it begins. Ephemeral season has started early this year. With four years of data from this blog, I can see this is the earliest that I have found Hepatica and Bluebells. I was out running today on Golade Creek Road and Trail today and kept a eye on the road and trail sides during a six mile run. This is my favorite ephemeral location and I had only faint hope of seeing anything. First it was the Hepatica, Liverwort. It has many color variations and the first was white then blueish and finally a pink and white one. On up the trail I found Bluebells just beginning to open and a sedge that was in bloom. This week is calling for colder weather, snow and and a variety of winter weather so it was good to see these wildflowers. So, the rush begins; I have several locations that I call my favorite location and several that I want to get to this spring. So, I'll be busy, but loving every minute of it.
Hepatica-Interesting White and Pink Color
Slightly Blue Hepatica

Slightly Blue Hepatica


White Hepatica

Monday, February 26, 2018

February Warm Day Blooms

One of the advantages of keeping a blog like this is that I now have four years of data showing weather trends and bloom times of many wildflowers. While looking through the past four February posts, I noticed that there were almost no blooms, wildflower or domestic. While I noted some warm trends, most of the time it was MArch before I commented on the first Crocus or Spring Peepers. This year, I saw Crocus at my 3050 foot elavation home on February 23rd and the first Daffodils were today.
I heard the first Wood Frogs peeping on February 21st just across a field from my home. We have had two weeks of beautiful 60-70 degree days and a lot of rain. A lot of spring emerging flowers and animals are starting early, but I am afraid they are in for a surprize. Tonight it will be 28 degrees and the trend is cooler into the weekend

And I saw my first new wildflower of the year for my attempt to photograph and record every wildflower that I can in West Virginia. I had saw a Facebook post about American Hazelnut blooms, so I checked the ones near my home. And, they were there..... Tiny and very pretty. But, so small, it explains why I have overlooked them until now. So it makes 360 wildflowers I have found and photographed in West Virginia, and I probably have many to go....I hike many miles looking for something new, chase leads from many sources and do a lot of research to find these flowers. Most are native but many are not. But I record them if they are now a part of the landscape of West Virginia. 

# 360 - American Hazelnut
(male flowers in catkin)
# 360 -American Hazelnut
(female flower)

In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move. Henry Rollins

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Early Fall 2017

Just a few wildflowers and other stuff from some recent walks around the farm or close by.
One new wildflower for my attempt to photograph and record every wildflower that I can in West Virginia. Mistflower, a member of the Aster family.
Wildflower season is quickly coming to a close.
# 359 - Mistflower Conoclinium coelestinum

                   Collinsonia canadensis    

           Citronella horsebalm, Richweed, Stoneroot

Yellow Jewelweed

Native Brook Trout "Brookie"
Catch and Release

Grandson enjoying the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory 
Looking for raptors after a long uphill hike


Nodding Ladies Tresses

Pawpaw in Fall colors
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?” 
― Robert Frost

Sunday, August 27, 2017

2017 Eclipse

Well, I confess, I was one of the millions of people who clogged the nations highways by traveling to an area of totality for the 2017 coast-to-coast total eclipse. I had been reading a great book called American Eclipse by David Barron and had learned a lot of new facts about eclipses. So, I wanted to be in an area of totality and at a higher elevation so I could possibly view the shadow racing across the landscape. I chose Tellico Plains Tennessee a four drive away and rural enough to maybe escape some of the crowds; but, was  I wrong about that.  I stayed Sunday night at a hotel 60 miles away and headed to Tellico before 6am. I kept seeing cow fields with 'eclipse parking $25' signs and scoffed at the idea that anyone would do that, but later that afternoon as I returned, I noticed that those same fields were full. For elevation I had decided to drive up the Cherohala Skyway until I found an overlook to the west. Traffic was light that early and I thought I had scored a crowd free area  until I arrived at the Turkey Creek overlook at 2600 feet in elevation. The lot was full, people were parking all over the road sides and three police cars were there to direct traffic. Even though it was 7 AM,  I had almost waited to long. Most people had stayed the night there and reserved sitting space. I parked on the shoulder of the road because I was afraid to drive further. There was a westerly view and I found a place to setup my chair with no view unless I was standing (and beside the restrooms where everyone going had to walk through my setup). The crowd was large and lively which made the hours pass quickly. I was in shade until noon but then the sun hit full blast and I had to hike back to the car for an umbrella. There was a lot of fancy equipment set up but I only had my iphone and Nikon DSLR. I had read about eclipse photography and knew there was precious little time to take pictures. I had downloaded an app that was supposed to take a series of pictures automatically for a research project, but I could not get it going.
           About two minutes before totality, we could see the shadow approaching and it was worth all of the trouble to be there. Then during totality I took several pictures of the eclipsed sun and tried a couple of different exposures on a tripod, but only had decent results. For one thing, it was dark, which made adjustments to the camera difficult. Plus, I wanted to heed the advice that I saw repeated a lot; 'put the equipment down and just look.' I did that for a while, but kept thinking, 'wow, i should take a picture of that.' The 2 1/2 minutes passed so quick, and the instant the sun peeped back from behind the moon, it was daylight again. I wish I had better pictures, but the experience was great.
(See Video of Shadow by clicking here)
Crowds at Turkey Creek Overlook on Cherohala Skyway
Panorama of the overlook and valley to the west
         The four hour trip home took 8 hours and was miserable. Even so, I am already making plans for 2024 when the closet place to view that event will be in Ohio.
Approach to Turkey Creek Overlook on the Cherohala Skyway

These three photos are screenshots of a video, it shows the shadow
approaching from the west and covering us within a minute, turning daylight to dark..

Crane Flys

Crane Fly Orchid

On a trip to Charleston, WV to watch a grandkid play baseball, I had the opportunity to hike through Little Creek Park. I have found some new flowers there in the past and enjoy this opportunity to hit the trails in a very urban area. I quickly spotted Crane Fly Orchids in bloom. After some pictures I continued and saw these unusual orchids all along the trail I was on for a mile or more. I spotted a box Turtle, Starry Campion, strange mushrooms and others. 

Crane Fly Orchid
Crane Fly Orchids

Eastern Box Turtle- Although mostly terrestrial,
this turtle is in the pond turtle family

Starry Campion